What Is Thrombophlebitis?

Thrombophlebitis is an inflamed or infected vein caused by a blood clot. It typically occurs in your legs, but it can also be found in the arms or neck. Thrombophlebitis can be superficial, occurring in the veins close to the surface of your skin, or it can be deep and occur in veins deeper within your body.

Symptoms of Thrombophlebitis

The most common symptom of thrombophlebitis is swelling and pain along the affected vein. Other symptoms may include:

  • Warmth and tenderness in the affected area
  • Discoloration of the skin around the affected area
  • A fever
  • Redness of the skin

Causes of Thrombophlebitis

Thrombophlebitis is most often caused by a combination of factors, such as immobility, which can slow down your blood flow, and trauma to the affected area, which can damage the walls of the veins. Other possible causes include:

  • Injury to the veins
  • Infection
  • Cancer
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Medications such as birth control pills, hormones, and steroids

Treatment for Thrombophlebitis

The main goal of treatment for thrombophlebitis is to reduce the inflammation and swelling in the affected area and to prevent the clot from getting larger or breaking off and travelling to other parts of the body. Treatment usually involves elevating the affected limb to reduce swelling, applying a warm compress to reduce inflammation, and taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Wearing compression stockings and avoiding long periods of sitting or standing may also help in the treatment.